Tell me where to go (on opening day)

Posted by on March 22, 2011
Looking down China Lake

Looking down China Lake

Opening day for open freshwater fishing in Maine is April 1. I am taking the day off from work and I am bound and determined to get the ‘yak in the water. I have narrowed my potential destination down to 4 options, and I want you to help me decide. After the jump, in no particular order, are the candidates.

Pleasant Pond

Pleasant Pond, Litchfield, Maine

Pleasant Pond, Litchfield, Maine

Pleasant Pond [map] is a long, skinny, 746-acre pond that runs alongside Route 201 in Litchfield, Maine. It’s maximum depth is 26 feet. It is fed and drained by the Cobbosseecontee Stream. It offers fairly smooth and easy paddling, but can have a strong current this time of year. It is known as one of the best largemouth bass fisheries in the state. It also contains smallmouth bass, brown trout, brook trout, and pickerel.

A day on Pleasant Pond would be spent mostly drifting in close proximity to the shore, casting into the weedy areas with some spinnerbaits and swimbaits, looking for that trophy largemouth. I would also venture into some of the depths and drop offs and jig for trout, just to see what I might find.

Cobbossecontee Lake

the oldest, working freshwater lighthouse

The lighthouse on Cobbosseecontee Lake

Cobbosseecontee Lake [map], also in Litchfield (and in Manchester, Monmouth, West Gardiner, and Winthrop) is the largest lake in this area–over 5500 acres and 10 miles long–and it is also one of the deepest, maxing out at just over 100 feet. It is widely considered one of the best bass fishing destinations in the state. It has large and smallmouth bass, brown trout, pickerel, and an occasional northern pike (and, of course, perch).

One of the things Cobbossee has going for it is that it is just plain beautiful. It is a great paddle with lots to see. It is home to the only working, freshwater lighthouse that is more than 100-years-old. It would be nice to get out there before the large, power boats show up for the summer.

Woodbury Pond

A Loon's Nest on Woodbury Pond

A Loon's Nest on Woodbury Pond

Woodbury Pond [map], in–you guessed it–Litchfield, is the largest lake (436 acres) in the Tacoma Lake chain. It maxes out at just over 60-feet deep. It is stocked with brown trout by the state each fall, but naturally supports populations of black bass, pickerel, and white perch. The bass fishing has to be pretty good since they have a bass tournament there every summer.

This would be a fun paddle since the only part of Woodbury Pond I’ve seen is what you can see as you drive through on Route 126.

China Lake

China Lake [map] is a 3,845-acre lake in China and Vassalboro (not Litchfield, for a change). It is also one of the weirdest looking lakes I’ve ever seen. It is basically two lakes in one–a long, skinny, shallow lake attached to a round, deep lake. The long lobe of the lake is rarely over 30 feet deep, while the round lobe is about 85-feet deep. It has your typical Maine fishing fare: brown and brook trout, large and smallmouth bass, pickerel, and perch.

China lake is another beautiful lake with great fishing and easy access. It would be a really nice place to spend the day.

Well, there they are, the four fishing spots in the running for my opening day paddle. Let me know what you think, particularly if you have any experience on any of these waters.

There is one, small dilemma, however. As of today, all of these lakes and ponds are still iced in and we are expecting a cold spell over the next several days with overnight lows into the low 20s. Granted, the daytime highs will all be above freezing but we’ll be lucky to see 40 for the next several days. There are 9 days for the ice to get out, or it may just spoil all my plans.

2 Responses to Tell me where to go (on opening day)

  1. theYakodile

    Good news on the ice front! I saw some open water at the north end of Cobbossee today. Also saw some around the edges of Woodbury Pond, and Little Purgatory Pond (another of the Tacoma Lakes) is almost completely open. It looks like we might have a shot at some lake paddling on opening day–just one week away.

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